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Russian rocket with Progress cargo ship launched to ISS

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A Russian Soyuz-U booster rocket with a Progress M-59 space freighter has been launched from the Baikonur space center to the International Space Station, a spokesman for the Russian Federal Space Agency said Thursday.
MOSCOW, January 18 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian Soyuz-U booster rocket with a Progress M-59 space freighter has been launched from the Baikonur space center to the International Space Station, a spokesman for the Russian Federal Space Agency said Thursday.

"The carrier rocket lifted off on schedule," he said, adding the Progress M-59 cargo ship separated at 5:21 a.m. Moscow time (2:21 a.m. GMT) and reached a preprogrammed orbit, setting on an approach course toward the ISS.

The official said the Progress will dock automatically with the ISS January 20.

The Progress cargo ship is carrying fuel to the ISS to keep it in orbit, water and food for members of the 14th expedition, as well as research equipment and expendables.

The current ISS crew comprises U.S. astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, who began working on the world's sole orbital station September 20, and U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams, who replaced the European Space Agency's German astronaut Thomas Reiter in December 2006 and will stay on board the ISS for another five months.

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